Repetitive noise and/or very loud noises caused by neighbours on a regular basis can lead to stress and make life miserable at home (especially for people who are housebound or who have health problems).
Annoying noises aren’t always directly caused by inconsiderate behaviour (for example some homes may just have poor sound insulation) but you should always try to be aware of how noise from your activities can affect your neighbours. You may not realise that speech can carry as much as any other sound and that common activities like playing instruments, household chores and parties can become irritating for neighbours.
Whenever possible it’s best to let your neighbour know if you’re going to carry out any noisy tasks. Typically loud activities should be done during reasonable hours - after early morning and before early evening.
The following examples are the types of noise nuisance that are most commonly complained about, however there are often simple steps that can prevent noise from disturbing neighbours.
Amplified sound, for example TV, music and radio, is one of the most frequently complained about sources of noise.
Make sure you keep the volume down if you’re watching TV, playing computer or console games, playing a musical instrument, or listening to music/the radio (in your own home and in your car) especially after early evening and before the early morning.
When playing amplified music place speakers/radios away from walls, floors or ceilings that you share with a neighbour and set the bass control at a low level. Standing speakers on an insulating material can reduce the transmission of sound.
Whenever possible you should use headphones or earphones, but if you do play music/radio out loud at a higher volume (in your home or in your car) keep all windows and doors closed.
If you’re playing music outside try to keep it to a level that can’t be heard outside your own land.
Owning a dog
If you’re a dog owner there are steps you can take to make sure your dog isn’t causing a noise nuisance to your neighbours by barking or whining excessively. Dogs can bark more than expected for several reasons including boredom, loneliness, fear or territorial behaviour.
Possible causes of excessive dog barking and what you can do
Dogs may bark if they’re afraid of something, particularly loud noises such as fireworks. To help calm them you can keep doors, windows and curtains closed so they aren’t exposed to the sight of things that trigger fear. You can also try to make sure they’re in a comfortable area for example a darkened room, as well as leaving a television or radio on in the background at a low level.
If your dog is bored or lonely they can display attention seeking behaviour, including barking and whining. Make sure that your dog is getting enough exercise daily, as well as providing them with safe/interesting toys. Avoid leaving your dog on their own for long periods of time as they can become anxious, and keep them inside when you’re unable to supervise them. A pheromone diffuser could also help your dog settle when it is alone.
If your dog continues to struggle with fears or anxiety you can speak to your vet who could provide advice on what else you can do to help. They may check to see if there is a medical cause for the anxiety or suggest behaviour therapy for your dog.
Dogs can also become over excited when visitors call, when you get their lead or make their dinner. You can train your dog by paying attention to them when they’re calm/quiet, and praising them for good behaviour. You can do this by telling them to ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ if they start barking, and rewarding them (verbally, with their favourite toy or with a dog treat) when they calm down. Training can also include avoiding giving them attention when they’re over excited or seeking attention (by not touching, looking, talking or shouting at them). Putting a pot of treats by the door and asking your visitors to tell your dog to sit, and wait for them to calm down, before giving them the treat could also help.
Your dog may bark to ‘guard its territory’ when they see or hear strangers that appear to be intruders for example a postman. You can have your dog spayed or neutered to reduce territorial behaviour.
The quality of the dog food you choose can also affect their mood, as low quality foods with artificial additives can cause hyperactivity. Buying dog food that uses natural preservatives instead is the best option to prevent this.
If you own a traditional drum kit there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of causing noise nuisance when you practice at home. You should keep your practice sessions within reasonable times - typically between the hours of 9am and 7pm. Sessions should last no more than 30 minutes each time and any practice at the weekends/Bank Holidays should be kept to a minimum.
Decrease the amount of noise neighbours can hear when you practice
You can reduce the noise made by drums by using practice pads - rubberised discs placed on top of drum skins and cymbals. They can be easily be removed for performances/rehearsals in a non-domestic setting. A large pillow or old duvet can also be placed inside the bass drum to deaden its sound. Drum kits can also be placed on thick rubber or a dense foam mat to reduce noise going through the floor - old underlay/carpet is a cheap way of doing this.
Drum kits should be set up in a room away from walls shared by you and your neighbour. Make sure windows are closed when you practice - thick curtains can also help to stop noise escaping. Glass conservatories have poor sound insulation properties so shouldn’t be used as a space to practice in.
You could also consider getting an electronic drum kit instead of a traditional kit. Electronic drums can be played as loud as you want by using headphones. They produce virtually no noise in their surroundings when played in this way - although you may still need to stand them on a noise-deadening surface if there’s any excess noise.
Audible intruder (burglar) alarms
If you’re the owner of an audible intruder alarm, or are planning to buy one, there are a few things you can do to prevent it causing any noise nuisance. The alarm you choose should have an automatic cut out device to stop the alarm sounding after 20 minutes (but any lights attached will continue to operate indicating the premises are still alarmed).
Nominate key holders
You should have nominated key holders (friends or neighbours that live nearby) that hold keys to the property in your absence. If your neighbours aren’t the key holders, make sure they’re aware who is.
You should also notify both the police and us (as your local council) of your key holder details, so that contact can be made to silence the alarm if it sounds continuously due to a fault, even if you’re away. To register your key holder details fill in and return both forms below.
If your vehicle alarm sounds continuously due to a fault, this can become a noise nuisance.
If your vehicle is located on a street, a warrant isn’t required for us to carry out works to stop the cause of the noise nuisance. A 'street' is defined as a highway and any other road, footway, square or court that is for the time being open to the public.
If your vehicle is located on private property, a warrant will be required for us to stop the cause of the noise nuisance. We’ll investigate the source, perform a DVLA search to identify you, as the owner of the vehicle and, if you can’t be located, serve notice on you to turn the alarm off.
De-activating vehicle alarms and/or removing the vehicle can happen an hour after the notice is served. De-activation and/or remove of the vehicle requires the expertise of specialist firms to act on behalf of us.
If you’re the owner of the vehicle that causes a noise nuisance and we have to take action, you will be billed for the costs of deactivating the alarm and/or removing the vehicle. You will also be charged as appropriate for officer time and any notices served.
If you’re planning on doing DIY work that you know will be noisy, let your neighbours know first and try to do it during reasonable daytime hours (starting after early morning and finishing before early evening). Ideally you should tell your neighbours what work you’ll be doing and how long it’s likely to take.
Finishing the work during reasonable hours, and as quickly as possible, is the best way to make sure you don’t bother your neighbours with noisy DIY.
If you’re planning on keeping chickens as pets you should check your property deeds or check with your landlord to make sure that you’re allowed to keep chickens on the property.
You might also need to check whether you require planning permission to put up suitable housing for your animals - typically this isn’t needed but it’s always wise to check.
You should only keep cockerels if you live in a non-urban area of Wrexham and you keep them within the boundary of your own land. Cockerels tend to crow from first light and there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of them becoming a noise nuisance.
If you have plenty of land to house your chickens on then you should place the hen house at the point farthest away from neighbours, with the door on the opposite side to the prevailing winds. Trees and bushes can also help block some of the noise reaching neighbours.
Keeping cockerels in a dark hen house overnight so they can’t see the dawn can help, as well as letting them out of their hen house later in the morning. You can also try a hen house with a lower ceiling height, or put a shelf in the hen house, allowing the cockerel to walk around at normal height but preventing it stretching its neck to crow.
Typically, multiple cockerels and different sized breeds shouldn’t be kept together on the same land as this can also worsen noise problems.
Noise nuisance can also be caused by crowing hens, although this is less common. A change in hormones is usually the cause for a hen crowing and this may be the result of an infected ovary, or a tumour in the same area.
Other signs of a change in hormones (apart from crowing) can include an enlarged comb, the development of male plumage after the moult and trying to mount other hens. An infected hen’s ovary can often be cleared up with antibiotics or it may clear up on its own, however a tumour can’t be treated.
If you’re keeping less than 50 birds you can choose to voluntarily register with the Great Britain Poultry Register (those keeping 50 or more birds are required by law to register as a poultry keeper). Voluntarily registering is recommended because The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will be able to contact you if there’s a disease outbreak (for example bird flu) in your area and you can help to prevent the spread of disease.
If you’re a developer you can apply to us for prior permission to undertake noisy construction work, under section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act. You can do this by using our online application form.
Apply for prior permission
Where the consent application is granted it exempts the applicant from any enforcement action under section 60 (Control of Noise on Construction Sites) of the same Act.
Operational hours for construction should be limited. We usually suggest work should take place between 7:30am to 6pm from Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm Saturday and no work should happen on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
All equipment should meet EU noise emission standards. All equipment should also be silenced and acoustic screens should be put up where possible. Reducing noise levels from very noisy activities should be considered for example hydraulic or auger piling should be used rather than percussive piling.
Your site practices should meet the BS 5228 Code of Practice which provides guidance on noise control on construction sites.
You should let nearby residents know well in advance about any particularly noisy activities that are due to take place. For bigger projects more formal communication arrangements should be made to make sure the local community is kept effectively informed.
Church bell ringing
Church bell ringing should take place within an agreed schedule whenever possible so that local residents aren’t unnecessarily disturbed by the noise. Scheduled bell ringing may take place for services and during practice sessions, as well as occasionally for funerals and weddings.
Bell ringing could count as a noise nuisance if the ringing is performed in an unscheduled manner.